2015’s The Hateful Eight is the eighth film by Quentin Tarantino and it is not untypical of his oeuvre, containing, as it does, extreme violence, offensive language and a plot that only really makes any sense by the time you get to the end of the film. It’s also not untypical of his movies in that it counts Samuel L Jackson, Tim Roth and Michael Madsen amongst a pretty impressive ensemble cast. And indeed it’s definitely not untypical of his work in that it’s just brilliant.
For a film that comes in at a shade under three hours, it doesn’t feel overly long and while Tarantino definitely doesn’t pull any punches, and the movie takes us to some pretty dark places, but there are plenty of laughs on offer too, albeit it’s the kind of macabre humour that is particularly synonymous with his usual offerings.
The eponymous eight are indeed mostly hateful, although Kurt Russell’s John Ruth is probably the closest the movie comes to having a heroic figure. He’s still a nasty piece of work, but not quite as nasty as all the others. It’s Jennifer Jason Leigh who steals all the plaudits though, in her role as Daisy Domergue, a character that, even in this undesirable company, is as unsettling as they come.
If Tarantino is not your thing, you won’t find much to change your mind in The Hateful Eight, but if, like me, you are a fan, then this happily sits alongside the best of his films.
Score for Christmasishness
While hardly full of joy and seasonal goodwill, The Hateful Eight is seemingly set around Christmas time. Michael Madsen’s character alludes to being en route to visit his mother for Christmas and one of the other characters plays silent night on the piano. Also there is a lot of snow, which is always a bit Christmas(ish).